Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Rocky Patel Limited Edition Lancero Sampler

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Sorry for the long hiatus since my last post but the holidays and both my kid's birthdays have kept me pretty busy. I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and that Santa gave you lots of good cigars! Speaking of some pretty good cigars...

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The Rocky Patel Limited Edition Lancero Sampler is full of some tasty cigars. Introduced in 2004, Rocky Patel produced only 2500 boxes for our enjoyment. The sampler contains a total of ten lanceros, two each of the following: The Edge, The Edge Maduro, Decade, Vintage 1990 and Rocky Patel Sun Grown. I have sampled all of them and none of them were a disappointment. Here are some notes on each one:

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The Edge lancero- Sports a cute pig-tail cap, this stick is medium brown and "paperbag" smooth with a slight lumpy feel and small veins throughout. The cigar tastes peppery off the bat, but immediately develops a nice creamy cafe au lait flavor with touches of cinnamon and nutmeg. Balanced and complex, it finishes nicely with notes of dried fruit, vanilla and caramel. Full bodied and delicious.

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Olde World Reserve lancero- This sharply box-pressed cigar is covered in a dark maduro wrapper that looks "ironed" smooth and feels firmly packed. Despite the tough draw on this complicated to make cigar, I really enjoyed the dark coffee flavor and caramel sweetness it imparts. "Earthy" is a good descriptor for this guy because I swear I could taste soil and coffee with each draw. There is some mild pepperiness in the background along with notes of leather. Overall, this cigar exudes elegance and sophistication due to it's well aged quality tobacco.

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Rocky Patel Decade lancero- This cigar is sharply box-pressed with minimal veins and nice smoothness. It drew well and tasted fabulous with rich mocha, tangy citrus, along with hints of spice and sweetness. You also get a nice nutty creaminess which adds great balance to the smoke. Medium to full bodied goodness.

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The Edge Maduro lancero- This cigar feels coarse to the touch due to it's toothiness. It's a well made dark maduro with a pig-tail cap. You get a nice dark roasted coffee taste with notes of chocolate on the finish. It's caramel sweet and nutty with a spice level that gradually increases as you smoke it. No problems with the draw on this baby.

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Rocky Patel Sun Grown lancero- This dark Colorado maduro cigar also has a cute pig-tail cap. This medium to full bodied cigar starts off mildly sweet and creamy, with notes of vanilla and black pepper. The earthy base flavor is surrounded by roasted nuts, raisins and spice. Lovely.

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The MSRP of this sampler is $70, but Silo Cigars has these limited supply boxes priced nicely at $59.50! (Who knows how many they have left?) If you are a fan of this vitola, this is a must buy to try before they are all gone. All the cigars are sized at an elegant 40 ring gauge by 7 inches long. Don't let the slim profile fool you, each one is full of flavor and should continue to age quite nicely.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Cabaiguan Maduro Rx

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So far, the only sizes I've seen of the Cabaiguan Maduro are the "RX" (50x5.25) and the "46" (46x5.625). Both are available in boxes of 20, with prices ranging from $166.50 to $171.00. The Cabaiguan Maduro is the latest offering in the Cabaiguan line manufactured at Don Pepin Garcia's Tabacalera Cubana Factory in Esteli, Nicaragua. The wrapper is a beautiful oily Connecticut Broadleaf, while the filler and binder is Nicaraguan grown tobacco.

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The construction of the cigar appears sound, with a neat three layered cap and tight seams. The cigar feels nicely packed with an occasional soft spot found on a few cigars. I purchased a five pack of the RX robustos on-line, and have so far smoked three of them. The flavor profile is pretty consistent so far.

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The draw varied from perfect to very firm. Each time I tested the pre-light draw, I could feel a spicy tingling to my lips and tongue. The initial flavors showed rich earthiness and black pepper spice. The body starts off in the medium range but then develops into a nice full smoke in the second third. After several puffs, the cigar develops nice creaminess and a touch of caramel sweetness on the finish to balance out the flavor. My mouth was left with a "pencil lead"-like after taste. After about the one inch mark, the body takes on a more tart cedary character. The spiciness is still present but on the mild side. The last third matures to a nice rich flavor of roasted nuts and cedar, but the tartness does edge towards bitterness if smoked too hot.

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My cigars burned slightly un-even but nothing too drastic that it didn't eventually correct itself. I did notice that the ligero on one cigar was off-center which caused that side to burn down slower. Expect to use your torch lighter to touch up the burn line if that happens.

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Overall, I feel the Cabaiguan Maduro is worthy of buying and laying down for some humidor aging. The flavors are substantial enough to mellow out into something truly sublime. Unfortunately the price of these cigars are not recession friendly. But, if you drank the "DPG Kool-Aid like I did, you are going to want to sample this one and anything else that man puts out!

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Friday, December 5, 2008

Fonseca Cubano Viso Fuerte (robusto)

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This review is sponsored by Silo Cigars, home to rare cigars, aged cigars and hard to find boutique cigars.

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Introduced at this year's IPCPR, the Fonseca Cubano Viso Fuerte is the second blend in MATASA's "Fonseca Cubano" series which was started in 2006. The manufacturer says that this series is for the "cigar enthusiast who looks for more flavor and complexity". The Cubano Viso Fuerte was created by Manuel Quesada, who, with Nestor Plasencia, was also the creator of the Casa Magna Colorado, which I really love.

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The Cubano Viso Fuerte uses a Honduran Criollo 98 Viso priming leaf, a Dominican binder, and filler tobacco from Dominican micro-farms that grow experimental Cuban seed tobacco. But what makes this cigar unique is that some of the filler also includes Connecticut Broadleaf, which is predominately used as a wrapper.

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Right from the first light, you can taste the deep earthiness and spicy sweetness of the Broadleaf. This is one masculine blend that serves up black coffee, burnt raisins, charred wood and burnt caramel to your taste buds. But despite this overcooked menu, the cigar manages to stay smooth, balanced and interesting with just a touch of bitterness and citrusy overtones. The finish leaves a "pencil lead-like" residue that coats the mouth. The spiciness does hit a high note in the last third, but gets nicely balanced out with more sweetness and a menthol-like coolness felt on the lips.

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The cigar that I smoked was a robusto size, which measures 52 ring gauge by 5.25 inches. There are four sizes in all with MSRP ranging from $5.25 to $7.50 a piece. These cigars have a beautiful deep reddish brown hue and can include some heavy veins. My robusto did have some lifting along the seams where the veins ran under it. But, I've smoked other cigars where the seams were nice and flat.

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The burn characteristics were above average, with a sharp and even burn line producing an attractive light gray ash with alternating black carbon layers. The cigar did burn a little warm in the second to last third, probably due to my struggles with a firm draw. I found it best to frequently rest the cigar to prevent the flavors from turning bitter.

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Overall, I feel the Fonseca Cubano Viso Fuerte would make an excellent after dinner cigar. The tangy earthiness is unique and satisfying. I am quickly becoming a fan of anything Mr. Quesada makes. If you are interested in trying this new cigar. Give my friend Kevin a call over at Silo Cigars, 1-865-675-7456. Like the Casa Magna, internet sales of this cigar are prohibited by the distributor.

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Monday, December 1, 2008

Mi Dominicana (corona)

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Mi Dominicana by Jose Seijas is a Dominican puro made by the General Manager of the largest cigar factory in the world, Tabacalera de Garcia for Altadis USA. This brand is available in eight sizes with prices ranging from $134 to $162 for a box of 20 depending on the vitola. This review is sponsored by Silo Cigars who provided me with the corona size which measures 44 ring gauge by 5.5 inches long and retails for about $7.50 a cigar.

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The cigar was well constructed but had a "rough" appearance to it with a few wrinkles and medium sized veins scattered randomly over the surface. The color of the wrapper was a greenish-tan hue with tiny visible tooth. I could not find what tobaccos were used in this cigar, but if I had to guess, it looked an awful lot like a Cameroon wrapper.

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The texture of the cigar was veiny and felt akin to a "paper bag", while the feel of the cigar showed a few minor soft spots but nothing to cause any concern. The cigar band was pretty simplistic looking but still quite tasteful in it's presentation.

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The initial flavors started off tart and woody with just a hint of sweetness and mild spiciness. After several puffs, a bright leather flavor comes through, but the overall sensation is dry and toasty. The flavors were crisp and smooth with no hints of bitterness. The spiciness was nicely balanced and not overwhelming. The finish was nice and long and remained dry throughout the smoke. The second and last third was mostly leathery and woody with no complex transitions happening anywhere on this cigar. I would like to compliment Mr. Seijas for dressing the cigar with an unpretentious cigar band to match the straight forward flavors of this cigar.

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The burn characteristics of this cigar was mediocre. The ash was slightly flowery and light gray in color but held on well until I was ready to tap it off. The burn line was slightly slanty to canoe-like in shape, but it finally straightened out in the last third with one touch-up and by smoking the cigar with the canoe shape aimed downward.

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Overall, this cigar was medium to full bodied with consistently smooth flavors. The lack of complexity makes me hesitant to want to lay down $7.50 for another cigar. But, that's just me. If you are a lover of all things Dominican, you won't be disappointed in this well balanced smoke.

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